Editor's Note: Election day is just around the corner and to give our readers a better look at the candidates who’ve thrown their hats in the campaign ring, Patch will be interviewing each one about what issues are most important to them, who’s their fiercest competition and what experience they bring to the table. Here's the second installment of our Names in the News feature.
Paul Kloecker is used to being a leader. The 32-year Gilroy resident served as a Naval engineer officer for 22 years. There, he helped plan and run bases that housed thousands of personnel. After retiring from the service, he became a facilities manager in the heady early days of Silicon Valley, managing design and production before becoming an independent consultant.
He still managed to find time, in between his commute to the Bay Area from Gilroy, to run and get elected to the city council. He served three terms as a councilman, tallying 12 years between 1983-1995.
The father of two grown children made an unsuccessful bid for the counil in 2010. Not to be dissuaded from civic duty, he currently sits on the Parks and Recreation Commission. He also conducts a train at , a job he said affords him the time and proximity to get back into politics with gusto.
Patch talked with Kloecker about what will be different if he's elected this time around, how managing a city is a lot like running a Navy base and how he keeps conflict at bay.
Gilroy Patch: Why did you decide to run for city council?
Paul Kloecker: I thoroughly enjoyed it when I was on the council for 12 years. I want to get back into it. I do it because I like it and it's something I've always enjoyed.
Patch: What are your hot button issues?
Kloecker: We're coming out of a recession and because of that we needed to lay off some police, fire and public safety workers. I'd like to see a return to the appropriate levels of public safety so we can keep crime under control.
Housing construction has slacked off for several years, but it's picking back up again, so I'd like to keep that going. There will be an update of the city's general plan coming up and I'd really like to be involved with that.
I want to be involved in downtown coordination and development. When I was on the council before, I worked closely in collaboration with a lot of different agencies, especially in the Bay Area. Now, I'd really like to focus on South County while still being involved with the Bay Area. We don't live in a bubble, but this time around I have the time and ability to participate in a lot more local things.
Patch: Who do you feel is your biggest competition and why?
Kloecker: I'm not in competition with anyone. I run for the seat. It's not my style to run in competition. I want to work in collaboration with people to make good decisions. I'm not going to say I'm better than this person or that person. It's not worth it to me to do that.
Patch: What experience do you bring to the position of city councilmember?
Kloecker: I'm an engineer and I spent 12 years on the council, where I participated in a wide range of things. I also bring my attitude towards cooperation and collaboration and having mutual respect for others on the council.
I absolutely abhor conflict on the council. Conflict doesn't mean a difference in voting, because that's going to happen. It's an attitude. I'm about resolving conflicts, not creating them.
I'm well versed in group collaboration, group management and getting along with a lot of people in a lot of organizations. If you think you are going to be on the council and run the show, forget it. I want to listen to people, listen to the public, read all the reports and take that information along with what the public is saying to make good decisions. I look for good, sound decision making.
I was involved in running bases when I was in the Navy. They're not much different than cities. We did everything from running bus systems to building buildings to taking care of transportation issues. I bring that experience to the council as well as fiscal management to go along with it.
I also work well with the school district. Because my wife is a teacher, I'm plugged into how the school functions here.
Patch: What's something you want voters to know about yourself?
Kloecker: I want them to know that I'm very interested in the council. I worked hard at it before and I intend to do the same if not more so this time. I'm a hard working, dedicated and capable person. I have the time and the experience. I get along well with people, which is a distinct asset.